“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.” Edward Abbey
Travels With Maggie*
I had an amazing scenic drive this day through some of Southern Utah’s most spectacular scenery, the landscape to which Edward Abbey first introduced me to in his irreverent “Monkey Wrench Gang.”
I read it first, then fate offered me an opportunity to explore and write about this awesome landscape when I was an environmental reporter writing about Utah land issues.
I would like to linger over this blog today, fully describing my eye-popping drive from Monticello to Capitol Reef National Park for you. But I’m sure I would get a bit redundant with the awesomes, fantastics and panoramics I would need to use to describe my emotions about the landscape found along Highway 95 and places like White Canyon, Fry Canyon, Dirty Devil River The Glen Canyon Recreation Area, Lake Powell, the Colorado River and Natural Bridges — just for the big starters.
So instead, I’m going to leave you with a few of my favorite Edward Abbey quotes, which I suspect will bore you less than my constant oohing and ahing superlatives.
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and about the clouds.”
“I pledge my allegiance to the damned human race, and my everlasting love to the green hills of Earth, and my intimations of glory to the singing stars, to the very end of space and time.”
“The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.”
“What is the purpose of the giant sequoia tree? The purpose of the giant sequoia tree is to provide shade for the tiny titmouse.
“One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast… a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.”
*Day 10 of the journey, April 28, 2011